For all Charlton fans the last three years have been anything but easy, since relegation from the Premier League in April 2007, after a season in which the Addicks had struggled to deal with the loss of long-standing manager Alan Curbishley, which saw two managers come and go in a single season.
In hindsight it is hard to understand why more planning wasn’t put into finding a more suitable replacement to Charlton’s most successful manager. Curbishley had given the club not only its most success in recent memory but also stability.
Curbishley led the London club to its highest placed finish since the 1950s when they finished 7th at the end of the 2003-04 season.
However after Curbishley announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the 2005-06 season the club saw a decline which would leave the club floundering in the third-tier.
During the 2006-07 season Charlton seemed to panic, like they were lost without their beloved Curbishley. The club had appointed Iain Dowie, the manager who had taken bitter rivals Crystal Palace up into the Premier League.
It was a shambles from the start; Charlton didn’t look like the same team that Curbishley had established as mid-table certs. With just two league wins to their name Dowie was sacked, Charlton opting to cut their losses and tossed assistant manager and former FA technical director Les Reed into the ring to see if he could change the clubs fortunes.
Results did not improve and after just six weeks in charge he too was given the axe to be replaced by former player Alan Pardew. Although Pardew did help improve results he could not save the club from relegation from the Premier League after six seasons in the top division.
After relegation, the Addicks went on to miss out on a Championship play-off place and finish in a lowly 11th place. The next season would see further heart-ache for Charlton fans as they endured a torrid season where Pardew would leave the club in November to be succeeded by assistant and former Colchester manager Phil Parkinson.
The new manager was unable to save the South-East London club from its second relegation in three years and the club dropped into league one where they remain after losing in the play-off semi-final to Swindon Town at the end of the 2009-10 season.
Now, Charlton must look to the future. In Phil Parkinson they seem to have a level-headed and astute manager who has dealt wisely in the transfer market on a limited budget.
Parkinson has brought in proven players like Gary Doherty, who won promotion last season with Norwich, and Pavel Abbott who was top-scorer for Oldham Athletic last-term and has already scored two goals in the Carling Cup defeat to Shrewsbury. They are joined by the talented Lee Martin, on-loan from Ipswich, who already looks a great capture.
Charlton have all the attributes to really be a force in League One this year and will be aiming to go one better than last year and secure an automatic promotion place which would fire the club one step close to the big-time....again.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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